AASA Central | Crowdfunding Best Practices & Model Policy Toolkit
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Crowdfunding Best Practices & Model Policy Toolkit for District Leaders

AASA Love Public Education


Dear AASA Members,

Since last year, AASA and DonorsChoose.org have been working together to support school districts looking to leverage crowdfunding to support district priorities.

After launching the Crowdfunding Best Practices Toolkit for District Leaders, we heard that many school districts are creating crowdfunding policies for the first time. This new toolkit is designed to help public school districts put in place a smart crowdfunding policy that protects students, teachers and your school district — all while celebrating classroom innovation.

Thank you for reading on!

Charles Best                                          Daniel A. Domenech

Founder & CEO                                      Executive Director

DonorsChoose.org                                AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Table of Contents
How it Works

National Fundraising. Local Impact.

Unlike any other funding platform, 75% of the dollars given to classroom projects on DonorsChoose.org come from people and organizations outside of teachers’ personal networks, making our site especially useful for teachers in low-income communities.

DonorsChoose.org corporate and foundation partners have provided more than $300 million of classroom project funding. And by engaging a community of donors passionate about supporting classrooms, we connect teachers with individuals they would never otherwise meet through traditional fundraising efforts. That’s why Dan Domenech, executive director, AASA, calls them the “PTA equalizer.”

Teachers at verified schools request specific items. DonorsChoose.org vets every single project that teachers post. Donors and foundations contribute to these requests. DonorsChoose.org orders the items and ships them to the school. DonorsChoose.org notifies the school in advance of every shipment.
Action 1: Adopt a Crowdfunding Policy

A smart model policy

We encourage you to put a smart crowdfunding policy in place to protect your students, teachers, and your school district — all while celebrating classroom innovation. This model crowdfunding policy ensures that your teachers only use platforms that meet exceptionally high standards for transparency, integrity, and student safety. It was built with input and guidance from district administrators, state auditors, AASA, The School Superintendents Association and The National School Boards Association (NSBA).


A policy in action: Philadelphia

The School District of Philadelphia adopted a new policy and procedure in 2016 to help teachers safely navigate the crowdfunding landscape.
The district conducted teacher and principal training sessions shortly after the policy’s implementation, helping teachers get set up to use secure crowdfunding sites like DonorsChoose.org.




Getting Started
Action 2:
Communicate Policy & Engage Principals

Partner with principals to intentionally communicate your crowdfunding policy throughout your school system by and ensure equitable access to resources.

Action 3:
Train Teachers

Support all teachers in your school system by hosting district-wide training sessions.

Action 4:
Engage District Stakeholders

Administrators are encouraged to sign up for line-by-line reporting to monitor every item requested, ordered, and shipped to district schools.

Action 5:
Input Your Technology Guidelines

Integrate your district’s tech guidelines with the platform, letting teachers know which resources will be supported by your district.

Action 6:
Celebrate Teacher Successes

Teachers with the most success on DonorsChoose.org are led by encouraging  administrators.

FAQs for Superintendents

What are the best practices for evaluating crowdfunding sites?

The AASA and DonorsChoose.org issued a guide on this topic: Crowdfunding in K-12 Education: Best Practices for District Leaders. Best-in-class crowdfunding platforms are run by nonprofit organizations, focused on K–12 education, and connect teachers to a wide network of donors from outside of the teachers’ immediate network.

How do we create an equity plan for our school district?

Communication is key when ensuring equitable access to supplemental resources available on DonorsChoose.org. Work with your principals and instructional coaches to train teachers throughout the district on DonorsChoose.org and encourage them to post projects in alignment with district initiatives. Miami-Dade County Public Schools for example, include trainings on DonorsChoose.org during their Synergy Summer Institute professional development. By celebrating project funding, you can motivate teachers and encourage a little friendly competition throughout your school system so all teachers can successfully tap into the DonorsChoose.org national donor network..

How is DonorsChoose.org different from other crowdfunding platforms?

While most crowdfunding platforms are merely fundraising tools to collect donations from your own friends and family, DonorsChoose.org is so much more. With built in financial transparency and accountability, integrity controls, and measures to ensure privacy and safety, DonorsChoose.org is the leading crowdfunding platform built to exclusively support K-12 public schools. By tapping into a national donor network of citizens, companies, and foundation partners, DonorsChoose.org is unmatched in school fundraising. Learn more at www.donorschoose.org/superintendents.

Contact DonorsChoose.org